Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Rithi Choudhury (Journalist) on 29th Oct 2020

How To Get Rid Of Dry Hands? Causes & Treatment

How To Get Rid Of Dry Hands?

Have you ever shaken hands with someone who wondered what it feels like to be God's favorite?

We are talking of those people with buttery soft hands. We have got you covered.

While you may be not born with it (or lost the soft touch as you grew older) but there is no way in the world that our curated tips and tricks won't heal your hands (and this doesn't involve drinking water!). You may or not be God's favorite, but you're definitely our favorite. 

How To Achieve Baby Soft Hands?

1. Moisturize & Seal

Your first instinct when your hands feel dry will be to grab your bottle or jar of lotion or cream and start liberally rubbing it between your palms. But is that going to hydrate your hands? For optimum hydration and also retaining that hydration, you should moisturize your hands the right way. Look for occlusive emollients like mineral oil, petrolatum, shea butter, jojoba oil, dimethicone, ceramides in your moisturizer. These can lubricate your hands and humectants like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, peptides, propylene glycol, and AHAs like lactic acid, etc. that attract and hold moisture to the skin. In simple words, humectants will bring moisture to your dry hands while emollients or occlusives will seal that moisture.  

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2. Washing Hands The Right Way

Washing hands is a good habit, but frequently washing with soap/handwashes strips the hands of moisture and leaves them rough and dry. Therefore try to use sops/handwashes with added humectant ingredients to counteract the drying effect of frequent hand washing. Use lukewarm water or cold water if lukewarm is not possible, but avoid washing with quite hot water (liquid) as it can further dry out your hands. After washing your hands while they are still damp, moisturize immediately to prevent dryness. Also, a gentle reminder that you need to lather up your hands for about 20 seconds to thoroughly cleansing them.  

3. Wear A Cotton Glove

We understand it is simply not possible to be wearing a glove all the time unless you are working in the medical or food sector and, therefore, mandatorily required to do so. A great tip to deep condition the hands is by moisturizing them with a heavy moisturizer and then wearing a cotton globe at night before bed. The very next morning, you will get/wake up with nourished and baby soft hands. If you do not have cotton gloves, then wear cotton socks.  

4. Use A Humidifier

Dry weather can take a toll on your skin. Therefore using a humidifier will help in maintaining the moisture in your skin.

5. Exfoliate

Exfoliating the hands will help eliminate the dead skin cells and, therefore, the dry skin on your hands. But again, you have to be mindful and not over-exfoliate in an attempt to scrub away the roughness.  

6. Wear Rubber Gloves While Doing The Dishes

If you are doing the dishes, avoid contact with harsh detergent bars or liquids, and invest in a pair of rubber gloves. Wear them while washing the utensils, or even if you hand wash your clothes, your hands will thank you later. If you are uncomfortable wearing rubber gloves while going about your chores, a great tip is to slather vaseline or petroleum jelly on your hands before washing the dishes/clothes. It forms a protective barrier between your hands and the detergent. 

Why Do We Get Dry Hands? 

The most common factors for having dry hands are: 

  • Dry weather - Dry weather leads to moisture loss from the skin 
  • Frequent washing - Frequent handwashing with soap strips the essential oils.
  • Contact with detergents - Detergents contain harsh sulfates that strip the oil from the hands, leaving them rough and dry. 
  • Washing hands with hot water - Hot water is neither suitable for washing the hands, the body, or even hair. It dries out the skin by disrupting the skin's natural balance of moisture and further aggravating dry skin conditions. 
  • Too much air-condition - Air Condition lowers the humidity level in a room and makes the environment dry, which leads to dry skin. 
  • Eczema and Psoriasis - If you have a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, rough, patchy, dry, scaly, and itchy skin are common symptoms. 
  • Exposure to chemicals - Chemicals in your skincare products like denatured alcohol or your hygiene products like sulfates strip the natural oils from your hands and leave them dry. 
  • Certain medications - Certain Medications you may be taking can be the reason behind your recent dry hands. Consult your doctor for the exact cause. 

Anti-Aging Treatment For Hands 

As we grow older, the collagen & elastin (protein fibers responsible for skin thickness and elasticity) decrease. As a result of it, we develop wrinkles and loose folds of skin on our hands. While aging is a natural process, our hands do not necessarily have to develop wrinkles.

Fortunately, we have nature and science, which have come together to create hero ingredients in our skincare, which we popularly term anti-aging ingredients

Dr. Andrea Suarez, popularly known as Dr. Dray from her YouTube Channel. Says,

A fundamental product that can not only enhance/improve the appearance/look of the back of your hands & your hands overall but also the nails is going to be a hand cream that has either alpha-hydroxy acids or urea in it or a combination of the two ingredients

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and urea are humectants, which means they help hold water into the skin and thus plums it out and smoothing the wrinkles' appearance. Both AHA and Urea also help shed rough, dead skin cells from the skin, leaving the hands softer.

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COVID -19 And Dry Hands 

This COVID pandemic has turned our lives upside down and also taken the life out of our hands from frequent washing and sanitizing with alcohol rubs, leaving our hands rough and dry.

But we cannot avoid it as washing our hands is the best way to defend ourselves against coronavirus and several other pathogens. But what we can do is choose hand-cleansing/sanitizing products that have nourishing ingredients like aloe vera and glycerine to counteract the dryness caused by alcohols and detergents like sulfates.

Let us remind you again that alcohol-based hand sanitizers are the best for disinfecting hands (but second to handwashing), and therefore do not go for alcohol-free variants in the hope that they will not dry your hands. Mainly because the truth is alcohol-free hand sanitizers often have benzalkonium chloride that is not effective like alcohol for disinfecting, and you can even develop an allergy to benzalkonium chloride

Bottom Line 

All the products we have listed in this article are thick, fatty formulations that will help restore your hands' skin barrier.

Lotions are not suitable for parched hands because the content of cream is mostly water, which means they are not as occlusive to seal in the moisture.

When looking for a hand cream, try to go for fragrance-free variants and watch out for nasty ingredients like denatured alcohol.

These ingredients will further irritate your skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis etc. Even avoid essential oils as they will only irritate your dry, cracked hands further. Always turn the bottle and educate yourself about the ingredients.